Argemona: how to plant and care in open ground

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Argemona: how to plant and care in open ground
Argemona: how to plant and care in open ground

Characteristics of the argemon plant, agricultural technique of planting and care in a personal plot, breeding rules, possible difficulties in growing, curious notes, species.

Argemone is represented by a plant belonging to the Papaveraceae family. Based on the information obtained from The Plant List database, about 32 species are classified by botanists. Under natural conditions, it can be found in arid areas, which are found in the gray Mexican regions, as well as the southern states of the United States.


The area of ​​the primary origin of some argemona species is still unknown.

These plants were naturalized in the West Indies, and in other regions of the planet, where an arid climate prevails. When growing with argemon, preference is given to open and sunny locations. Although some species are quite decorative, they are recognized as weeds and can grow along roadsides or in recreational areas.

Family name Poppy
Growing period Perennial or annual
Vegetation form Herbaceous
Breeds Seed method
Open ground transplant terms Late spring (May)
Landing rules Saplings are placed at a distance of 20-25 cm from each other
Priming Well-drained, fertile
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 5-7 (neutral)
Illumination level Open and sunny place
Humidity level Moderate, regular watering
Special care rules Periodic fertilization is necessary, otherwise it will start to hurt
Height options Vary from 30 cm to 1 m and more
Flowering period From late June, some varieties until October
Type of inflorescences or flowers Single flowers
Color of flowers Snow white, yellow or orange
Fruit type Capsule (box) with seeds
The timing of fruit ripening Late summer or September
Decorative period Summer
Application in landscape design Flowerbeds and flower beds, for cutting
USDA zone 5–10

Argemon received its scientific name due to the fact that from its parts folk healers prepare drugs that help with cataracts, leading to clouding of the lens of the eye. This is evidenced by the term "argema", which is translated from Latin as "cataract" and from which the name of this representative of the flora comes from. Even today, the plant is used in medicine. In the people, on the territory of natural growth, it is called a medical poppy or an eye patch, a marble thistle or a hellish fig tree, a horned or thorny poppy or dragon grass, a two-legged zeb.

All representatives of the genus Argemona have a long-term, albeit short (all a couple of years) life cycle, although annuals are also found among them. All of them are characterized by a herbaceous vegetation. The stems grow erect, with a branching at the top. With any injury to the shoots, the release of yellow juice (latex) occurs on the cut. The surface of the stems is covered with thorns growing perpendicularly or nestling against the shoots. The color of the stems can be green or grayish.

The foliage is located on the stems alternately, with the main leaves alternating with rosettes. The edge of the leaf plates is uneven, toothed-prickly. The color of the leaves of argemona is bright green, bluish green or bluish due to the metallic tint. The outlines of the leaves take on a spectacular notched-toothed, pinnately-incised, or coarsely serrate shape.It happens that the thorns cover not only the upper surface of the leaves, but also from the reverse they cover the main veins, although not so densely.

At the end of June (in some species in April or May), flowering begins, which in argemona can stretch until October. In its process, single flowers are formed on the tops of the shoots, although in some plants they are located in the form of groups. There are 2-3 free-growing sepals in the calyx. Their top is wavy, they themselves resemble leaves. Sepals fall off quite early. Like leaves, the surface of the sepals is decorated with thorns. Argemona flower corolla petals form 2-3 pairs, arranged in 2-3 rows. The color of the petals is snow-white, yellowish or orange, while some species have a greenish or bright yellow tint at the base of the petals.


Each argemon flower lives only one day and then flies around, but another quickly takes its place, which makes the flowering seem rather long. If the weather is cloudy, the bud may not fully open and remain in this state until the sun shines for a long time and brightly.

The flower is decorated with multiple stamens on yellow or reddish threads. The anthers adorning them are linear. The pistils contrast with the petals due to their reddish or lilac color scheme. Argemona flowers, somewhat reminiscent of poppies, attract with their size, since when opened, some can reach 10 cm in diameter. Delicate large petals flutter from each breath of the breeze, adding attractiveness and tenderness to the plant. At the same time, flowering becomes attractive for numerous insects, in particular bees and butterflies, as a pleasant peculiar aroma spreads around the bushes.

After flowering in argemona, fruits ripen, represented by capsules or capsules, the surface of which may also have spines. The shape of the capsules is cylindrical or ellipsoidal. A large number of small fruits are formed inside. When fully ripe, the fruit-box is cracked by the shutters. The length of the capsules can vary within 2–4, 5 cm, while the seeds reach a length of about 2 mm.


Although argemona flowers are fragile, the plant does not look like that due to the natural protection in the form of thorns and thorns on all its parts. At the same time, it can be noted that this representative of the flora can easily tolerate a decrease in the thermometer at night to -10 frost, but only if the heat indicators are positive during the day.

The plant is characterized by special unpretentiousness, and even a novice gardener can cope with its cultivation, but only a small range of colors of petals in flowers can upset, but their visual appeal will not leave anyone indifferent.

Agrotechnology of planting and caring for argemon in the open field

Argemon blooms
  1. Landing place It is better to pick up the dragon grass bushes open, illuminated by sunlight from all sides throughout the day. In shading, the shoots will begin to stretch and thin out, and flowering is practically excluded. Since the plant is not hygrophilous, you should not choose places where moisture stagnation from rain or melting snow can occur. Also unacceptable are locations (settled or ravines) where water accumulates.
  2. Soil for argemon picking up is not a problem, since this representative of the flora in nature grows well and on a poor substrate. However, cultivated species and varieties give preference to garden soil. You should not plant marble thistle in places where the soil is heavy, its acidity is high or salinity is present. Waterlogged substrates are also not desirable. All of these soil mixtures can provoke the death of a plant. The best choice for a thorny poppy would be a loamy or sandy loam soil mixture with high drainage.The acidity of the substrate should be in the range of pH 6, 5–7.
  3. Argemon planting held from the end of April and throughout May. This will be a guarantee that by the middle of summer the plants will delight you with delicate fragrant flowers. Planting holes are recommended to be located at a distance of 25-30 cm from each other or other representatives of the garden. A drainage layer is laid at the bottom, which serves as protection against waterlogging of the root system. Drainage can be coarse-grained sand, fine expanded clay or pebbles, or pieces of brick of the same fraction. After that, a little soil mixture is poured onto it to cover the drainage, and only then the argemona seedling is placed. Do not deepen the plant too deeply, the planting depth should remain the same as before. After the marble thistle bush is planted, it is watered abundantly.
  4. Watering when caring for argemon does not require effort from the gardener, since the plant, thanks to its powerful roots, is able to extract nutrients and moisture for itself during drought and heat from the deep layers of the soil. Although it is noticed that the marble thistle loves water, but its excess will lead to its rapid death. Watering is carried out as the topsoil dries up.
  5. Fertilizers when growing argemon will be required if the plants were planted in a poor substrate. In this case, it is recommended to use full mineral fertilizers or special complexes (for example, Kemiru-Universal or Agricola). The first time feeding is applied 7-10 days after thinning has been carried out. Fertilization is repeated thereafter at intervals of half a month before the beginning of the flowering phase.
  6. Wintering. When caring for an argemon, do not be afraid that frost can damage both adults and young specimens. Even plants in the flowering phase are not afraid of a drop in temperature and continue to delight with flowers not only in early autumn, but even in October, when the thermometer is still in a positive, but rather low range. Flowering is often observed when the temperature reaches -10 degrees at night.
  7. Collection argemona seed material should be carried out using gloves. All due to the fact that the surface of the fruit is covered with thorns. Therefore, non-woven materials are used to protect the skin.
  8. The use of argemona in landscape design. Due to its exotic appearance (thorny foliage and delicate large flowers), the dragon grass will become an excellent decoration of the site if such bushes are planted in wide ridges or with their help to form large color spots on the lawn. When planted singly, such marble thistle bushes can create an accent in a rock garden or mixborder. Poppy flowers look very good in bouquets, but you should remember about the juice that will stand out on the cut of the stem. Such a substance will thicken and block the access of water to the stem vessels. To prevent this from happening, the cut ends of the shoots of the medical poppy are dipped in boiling water or burned.

Read also about planting a ptylotus, home care and outdoor care.

Argemon breeding rules

Argemon in the ground

It is usually used to obtain a new bush of marble thistle by the seed method. This is due to the fact that the root system of even an adult specimen is characterized by high fragility, and an attempt to divide the bush will not be crowned with success.

Seeds can be sown directly to the flower bed or grow seedlings. Sowing is carried out from the last week of April and throughout May. The size of the seed material of the argemona is quite large. So in one gram of seeds there are about 230-240 pieces, and to grow hundreds of bushes, only 1 gram of seed is required. For sowing, holes are dug in the soil, into which 3-4 seeds are placed. The recommended embedment depth should be kept within 1–1, 5 cm. The distance between the planting pits is left about 25–30 cm.After the seeds are placed in the hole, they are sprinkled on top with a substrate not exceeding a thickness of 1.5 cm.

Caring for argemona crops involves regular but moderate watering, preferably with a garden hose nozzle for sprinkling. Literally after half a month, the first shoots can be seen above the soil surface.


For the successful germination of argemona seeds, the soil in the flowerbed before planting should be carefully prepared: dig up and loosen, removing too dense and large substrate breasts, remove the remnants of roots and weeds.

If the sowing of seeds of marble thistle was carried out in May, then the first flowering can be expected already with the arrival of July.

With the seedling method of reproduction, it is recommended to place 2-3 seeds at once in each pot, or if the sowing was carried out in seedling boxes, then picking the seedlings of the medical poppy is engaged in the period when the cotyledon phase begins, since the fragile roots can be easily damaged. In order not to harm the roots, pots for sowing argemon should be taken made of pressed peat, so that when moving seedlings to a flower bed, do not pull out the seedlings, but set them directly in the planting containers in the holes. The soil for growing seedlings is taken light, but nutritious, you can use a mixture of river sand and peat chips or use a special substrate for seedlings. Transplanting into open ground is carried out around the end of May or early June, when the return frosts have passed.

Read also how to breed poppy

Possible difficulties when growing argemon in open field conditions

Argemon flower

Thanks to the abundance of juice that fills parts of the marble thistle, it is not afraid of both pests and diseases. Argemona bushes can grow well and bloom in flower beds affected by harmful insects. But still, there are facts that can ruin such plantings of dragon grass. These include:

  1. Waterlogging of the soil, provoking rotting of the root system and the inevitable death of the entire plant. To prevent this from happening, it is important not to forget about a sufficiently large and high-quality drainage layer when planting. The same goes for growing thistles in containers.
  2. Inaccurate transplantation, since the root system of the argemona is rather fragile and is characterized by sensitivity. Even if the transplant was carried out according to all the rules, the plant in rare cases is able to fully recover, therefore, experts advise using the transshipment method when the earthen lump surrounding the root system does not collapse. Then the roots are the least susceptible to influence.
  3. Incorrect reproduction. Due to the sensitivity of the roots, it is recommended to immediately place the seedlings in peat cups so that when planting in open ground, the seedlings are not disturbed. The best option would be to sow seeds directly into the soil.

Read also about possible diseases and pests of heuchera during cultivation.

Curious notes about the argemon flower

Argemon grows

For the first time the genus was described by the famous scientist and flora taxonomist Karl Linnaeus (1707-1778) in the published work “Species Plantarum” from 1753, while the typical representative was the Mexican Agremona species (Argemone mexicana). Also, information about the plant can be gleaned from the work of Bernardino de Sahaguna (1500-1590), which provided information about the properties of argemon known to the Aztecs. The fundamental work "General History of New Spain Affairs" (1547-1577) contained the following information: if the eyes began to hurt, then it is recommended to grind the herb called istecautic mishitl and apply it in the form of a compress around the eye sockets or drip the eyes with milk juice, a plant called thistle, called chikalotl in the local language. The yellow latex sap that was released from the stems during the incision can kill the warts.

On the territory of European countries, argemona began to be grown as a cultivated plant only at the end of the 19th century, but this representative of the flora quickly began to occupy a popular place among gardeners because of its decorative qualities and the aroma of flowers that are not found in any other garden culture.

The Mexican angemon species in Mali is used to treat malaria, but the plant contains alkaloids that can provoke dropsy. Mustard and Argemone mexicana seeds are quite similar in appearance. Only 1% of contaminated mustard oil can cause symptoms.

This type of angemon is invasive, that is, it is capable of aggressively spreading and displacing local representatives of the flora. This was the case, for example, in New Caledonia, where the plant was introduced in 1901.

Argemona species

In the photo Argemon white

Argemon white (Argemone alba)

is a plant with rather powerful shoots, the height of which varies within 0.7–1 m. A lush bush is formed through the stems. The entire surface of the shoots is covered with thorns; there is a branching at the top. The color of the foliage is a bluish tint, reminiscent of metallic. When flowering from the end of June to mid-July, the shoots are decorated with snow-white flowers, the diameter of which is equal to 5-6 cm. The shape of the corolla is cupped.

In the photo Argemon large-flowered

Argemone grandiflora

received the specific name due to the larger size of the flowers. Their diameter can be up to 10 cm when fully expanded. The color of the petals in colors is snow-white or pastel-beige, but at the base they are slightly greenish. Flowers are arranged in groups of 3-6, which adds to the showiness of the plant. The flowering process begins in the last week of June and lasts until mid-July. The height of such a large-leaved angemon bush does not go beyond the range of 45–50 cm. The species is characterized by the presence of stems that have a dissection of almost half. The foliage is of a bluish tone with a pattern of whitish veins. If the green parts are damaged, a yellowish juice is released on the cuts.

In the photo Argemona Mexican

Argemone mexicana

this species is not as tall as the previous ones. Stems are ways to reach a height of 30–45 cm, there is a waxy bloom on the surface. The same plaque is found on the leaf blades, which distinguishes the species from other representatives of the genus. The deciduous mass has a green color, but there is a very light bloom of a bluish tone. The leaves are characterized by a large number of thorns, which can be seen even on the back of the foliage plate on the veins. When flowering, the Mexican angemon opens flowers with petals of a light yellowish color, occasionally taking on an orange-yellow color. Their size is small, with full disclosure, the diameter of the flower will be 4–5 cm. Flowering occurs from the end of June to the end of the second July decade.

In the photo, Argemon is wide

Argemon wide (Argemone platyceras)

of all plants in the genus, it is the most prickly. The height of the stems of such a bush does not exceed 0.45 m. The shoots have multiple branching. The shoots are fleshy and dense in shape. In the next order, rather decorative leaf plates of a green shade with a bluish tint flaunt on the stems.

When flowering, starting from late June or mid-summer, stretching almost to frost, large-sized flowers open on the tops of the shoots, the diameter of which can be measured 10-11 cm. The petals of the flowers are snow-white, inside the corolla are visible yellow stamens attached to reddish staminate threads. The pistil is colored lilac. This species has a shape, petals, casting beautiful pink or pinkish-lilac tones. The aroma during flowering is striking in its uniqueness, and the plant itself is abundant flowering.

In the photo Argemon corymbose

Argemon corymbosa (Argemone corymbosa)

whose native lands are in the Mojave desert, located in the southwestern United States.Preference is given to sandy soils in nature. Perennial with a herbaceous form of vegetation, the stems do not go beyond the range of 40–80 cm. When the stems break, the juice is released, which is typical for representatives of this genus, which has an orange tint. The edge of the leaf plates is equipped with thorns. The length of the leaves varies from 8 to 15 cm. During summer flowering, the corymbose argemona opens flowers, the petals of which are white, but the base is characterized by an orange or yellowish tone.

In the photo Argemon armed

Argemon armed (Argemone munita)

similar to the California lands, and also found in the US states of Nevada and Arizona. There the plant grows beautifully in desert regions and adorns the slopes, "climbing" to a height of about 300 m above sea level. It can spread along road shoulders. The species received its specific name (armed or protected) thanks to the long spines on the leaf plates. Leaves grow alternately on powerful meter-long stems, sometimes exceeding this mark. The leafy mass of the armed argemon has a bluish-green or mint-greenish color scheme. The outlines of the leaves are lobed, their edges are with long spines.

The flowers have snow-white petals. The buds are located singly on the tops of erect stems. The corolla is composed of three pairs of petals, each up to 4 cm long. The calyx has three sepals. The stamens inside the corolla are colored yellow or orange.

If you break or cut off the stem, then on the cut you can see how the yellow juice is released. When fruiting, the armed argemona appears as capsules with a prickly surface. Their length can vary within 3-5 cm. Inside contains a large number of seeds of rather small sizes. The plant in its parts is characterized by the presence of alkaloids.

Argemon dry (Argemone arida)

or Argemon Arida can have a one-year or long-term (short-lived) life cycle. The growth form is herbaceous. The stem height can reach one meter. The color of the shoots is yellow or orange. Stems grow singly or several stems originate from the base. They have a fork at the top. The surface of the stems is strongly to moderately prickly. Perpendicularly thin spines grow on the stems or they slightly recede from it. Foliage growing in regular order on stems with a bluish tinge.

The shape of the leaf plates is oblong or elliptical. The length of the leaf is 13 cm and the width is about 5 cm. The leaves in the lower part of the shoots are divided up to the middle vein. The blades are oblong, often strongly narrowed, on the edge there are sharp teeth, decorated with thin spines at the tops. The reverse side of the dry argemona leaves is also covered with small thorns, which are especially densely located on the main veins, but their number is smaller.

The length of the cylindrical flower buds is about 2 cm with a width of 1.5 cm, their surface is completely covered with evenly distributed thin spines. The flowers have 1–2 bracts at the base, resembling reduced leaves. The petals in dry argemona flowers can take on a white or light yellowish color, which turns brown over time. The length of the petals reaches 3, 5–5, 5 cm, while the width does not go beyond 3, 5–4, 5 cm. There are 80–120 stamens in a flower or even more. Filaments take on a pale yellow or reddish hue, they are also covered with yellow or purple spots.

After flowering, which stretches from the last spring month to October, fruits begin to ripen, taking the form of capsules, cylindrical-ellipsoidal in shape. Their length is 25–45 mm, with a diameter of about 12–18 mm, excluding the spines. Seeds that ripen in fruits measure about 2 mm in diameter.

In nature, the dry argemona species is common in the lands of Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi and Guanajuato.Despite the fact that the plant is often a weed, mainly found along roadsides, it is still a rare member of the genus. The growth height is 1900-2300 m above sea level.

In the photo of Argemon ochroleuts stenopetala

Argemon ochroleuca stenopetala

distributed in the lands of Chihuahua, Durango, Michoacan, Hidalgo and Mexico. It is considered a rare species. Growth height 1900-2000 m above sea level. Flowering occurs in mid-spring. Perennial with herbaceous growth. Cylindrical flower buds, 8 to 12 mm long and 4 to 6 mm wide, sepal ends 5 to 8 mm long. The petals in the flower are colored in a shade ranging from light yellow to white, their shape is narrowly elliptical, the length reaches (1) from 1.5 to 2.5 cm with a width of 3 to 6 mm. There are 20-30 stamens in a flower.

After flowering, fruits ripen in the form of seed capsules, 2 to 4 cm long. The seeds filling them have a length of 1, 8 to 2 mm.

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